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What Is The Difference Between Grommets And Eyelets?

Updated: Apr 5

At a glance, you might not know the difference between grommets and eyelets—after all, their appearance and uses are very similar! However, a few key differences between their construction and applications distinguish the two handy pieces of hardware. Keep reading to learn the main differences between grommets and eyelets and which is the best option for your sewing project.

Metal grommets, a grommet inserter, and a wooden mallet
Although they have similar uses, there are a few key differences between Grommets and Eyelets.


What Are Eyelets And Grommets Used For?

Nearly any time you cut a hole in a fabric—whether for a buttonhole, attachment point, drawstring, or anything in between—you'll have to reinforce it somehow. Sometimes, as with buttonholes, you can finish the cut area by stitching. But for applications where the fabric hole will bear a lot of friction or stress, a grommet or eyelet is usually the best choice. Both grommets and eyelets consist of a metal or plastic ring that encloses the raw edge of a cut fabric hole to finish, reinforce, and strengthen it. This prevents the raw edge from fraying or tearing, especially for applications where the fabric opening encounters a lot of friction (like drawstrings and laces) or bears weight (like curtains or bag strap attachment points). Both eyelets and grommets are great at reinforcing fabric openings this way, but what is the difference between them? Let's break it down!

What Are Grommets?

"Grommet" is the general term for a metal or plastic ring that reinforces a fabric opening. There are many different styles of grommets—Curtain Grommets for drapery, Rolled Rim Grommets for heavy-duty fabrics and outdoor gear, and Standard Grommets for general use, to name a few. They come in a range of sizes for a variety of different projects; grommets are applicable for everything from handbags, curtains, and wall hangings to tents, tarps, sails, and more. Generally, when working with heavier fabrics or larger fabric openings, you'll want to choose grommets over eyelets as they tend to be a bit larger and more durable. Each grommet consists of two parts that are pressed together to enclose the fabric edge. To install grommets, you'll need either a mallet and Grommet Inserter, a set of Grommet Pliers, or a Hand Press. Whichever option you choose, be sure to use the die size that corresponds with the size of your grommets.

What Are Eyelets?

The term "eyelet" can be a bit more confusing, as it's often used to refer to any smaller-sized grommet. However, these tiny rings have an identity of their own! Aside from their smaller size, eyelets also differ from grommets in their construction and installation. Where grommets consist of two parts (a ring and a washer) snapped or pressed together, each eyelet consists of one piece that is compressed down to enclose the fabric. Eyelets can be installed using a hammer and hand tools (included in our Dritz Eyelet Kits) or with a set of Eyelet Pliers. If installing eyelets sounds a bit too intimidating or time-consuming, you can also opt for Eyelet Tape instead! Due to their smaller size, eyelets are often used to reinforce holes for items like drawstrings, shoelaces, ribbons, lace, or elastic cording to pass through.

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